“It wasn’t Rootbeer,” Clara demanded.
“It was Rootbeer,” Lydia said again.
The girls were having a disagreement in the backseat. It was a relatively calm disagreement, but I knew their mother and I were going to be pulled into it eventually.
“Dad! Tell, Lydia she is wrong about… Rootbeer,” Clara called up finally.
“Okay. What are you even talking about?”
Lydia answered, “There was a new girl in my class today.”
“Alright,” I prompted.
“And her name was Rootbeer-”
“It was not Rootbeer!” Clara cut her off.
I threw a hand in the backseat to calm the two of them down. I counted a few seconds to myself before responding.
“Alright, Lydia. I don’t know the little girl in your class, but I don’t think her name was Rootbeer. People usually aren’t named Rootbeer.”
The smaller girl frowned and shook her head. Clara smiled in triumph, “See, I told you,” she said with a consoling tone, “I told you the girl’s name wasn’t Rootbeer. Her name was Whoopbeer.”
We drove on in silence for a few moments.
“I’m sorry, but Clara, did you just say that the girl’s name was Whoopbeer?”
“Yes. Lydia misheard and thought it was Rootbeer, but her name was Whoopbeer. She’s from Franch.”
“Okay, first, Franch is not a country, that is just two different salad dressings that you decided to put together for some reason. And second, Whoopbeer is even less of a name than Rootbeer. Whoopbeer sounds like something a frat boy invented in a bathtub before a party.”
“But it WAS Whoopbeer!”
“No, it was Rootbeer!”
“Okay, okay, settle down for a second,” I said. “Is it possible that maybe her name is Guinevere?” I asked.
Andrea joined in, “Oooh, I like that one.” The girls simply tilted their heads in uncertain thought.
“I don’t see how that is any better than Whoopbeer…”
“Just trust me. It is.”
A minute or so later Andrea quietly asked, “So, are you trying to figure out how you are going to write this down?”
“No. I mean, I have no idea. I mean, how can I? What if it turns out that the little girl is actually named Whoopbeer? What’ll we do then? What if we end up becoming really good friends with her parents and someday they read about this? I don’t think there is any way to tell this story without possibly making fun of their daughter’s name. And the last thing I want to do is offend someone from Franch.”